>> announcer: this is "nightline." >> tonight the colorado killer confession. chris watts, in his own words, on the moment he murdered his wife. the interrogation video released today, shocking text messages and google searches all part of a massive trove of evidence compiled by prosecutors. the secret life watts was living. >> hi, are you whilinchvestigat >>, sticxcuss? the wainon redsks under fire tonight for signing a player arrested twice for domestic violence. >> the ex-boyfriend did what? >> took my phone and broke it and slapped me in my face. >> is the nfl putting profits over principles? and welcome bark.
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colorado killer chris watts, who pled guilty to murdering his wife, two young daughters, and unborn son. now the interrogation video and the secrets he had been keeping from his family becoming public. >> and your wife, you killed her with one hand -- or two hands? >> coming from the back, i couldn't, like, really tell. >> a murderer's confession on tape. >> i just felt such anger that nothing -- i didn't feel anything. >> reporter: part of a massive trove of documents made public today. >> mr. watts, why did you killd? >> by prosecutors in colorado in the murder case against chris watts, who plead guilty to killing his wife and two daughters and was sentenced to life in prison. it includes photos, text messages, body cam videos -- >> hi, are you chris? >> videos of watts' polygraph test. >> did you physically cause shannan's disappearance. >> no. >> and new details about his secret life as investigators were closing in on him.
watts and his wife, shannon, appeared to be the picture perfect family. in the small town in colorado. >> he is the one for me. >> in social media videos, watts played the part of a loving husband and doting father to bella and celeste. >> my daddy is a hero. >> she had a baby on the way. >> so pink means? >> that's just the test. >> the new evidence now uncovering a much darker story, one of deceit, affair, financial trouble and a marriage in trouble. the family had filed for bankruptcy three years prior and was suffering from crippling credit card debt. documents also show watts was meeting people on the dating app, tinder, and having an affair with a coworker, keeping intimate photos of her hidden in a secret app on his phone. text messages now show that just a week before her murder, shannan had been hinting at the unrest at home, telling a friend, quote, chris told me last night he's scared to death about this third baby, and he's happy with just bella and
celeste and doesn't want another baby. adding, he has changed. i don't know who he is. the horror began the morning of monday, august 13th. >> i called her and texted her several times. >> nicole, shannon's friend, had dropped her off at home around two incomhe t returned from an out of town business trip. just hours later, shannan, who was 15 weekends pregnant, and celeste and bella go missing. >> i knew she had a doctor's appointment that morning. she didn't show up for it. i'm just worried sick. i don't know where she's at. this is completely unlike her. >> she called shannon's husband, chris. chris told her the last time he saw his wife and kids was that morning at 5:15 when he left for work. >> after i called her and texted her once, it was like, all right, maybe she was just busy. when her friend showed up, that was when it was like, it registered, like, all right, this isn't right. >> chris says he rushed home and uteff called police.
inside the house, they found shannan's wallet and keys but no other signs of life. >> i'm just concerned and shannan, if you're hearing this or you're out there, please, please let somebody know you're okay. >> but evidence now shows chris sent these text messages before that call was placed, labeled by authorities as staged in the discovery documents. if you take the kids somewhere, please let me know where they are at. six hours later, he sent another text to shannan, where are you? >> hi, are you chris? >> body camera video shows watts letting police into their ?olorado home. >> no, i just dropped her off. >> are you all right with us bringing the dog through the house as well? >> if you're out there, just come back. >> by tuesday afternoon, chris watts was speaking to local tv stations. >> if somebody has her, just please bring her back. >> his interviews at first evoked sympathy, but on closer
examination, suspicion. watts revealed that he and his wife had exchanged words the morning she vanished. >> it wasn't like an argument. we had an emotional conversation. i'll leave it at that, but it's -- i just want them back. >> if you watch his interview, first of all, it's very flat. it's unemotional. he spends a lot of the time rocking back and forth and he also holds himself like i'm doing right now. that's a defensive posture. that's saying i'm not going to let you in. i'm going to control what i'm going to say. >> that tuesday night, watts went to visit friends amanda and nick. they spoke with my colleague. >> did it ever cross your mind to even ask him if he was involved in the disappearance of his own family? >> we admitted, like, this doesn't look good for chris. >> that evening, chris would send an e-mail, opting in to a r hingnt fa changed. >> a heartbreaking outcome to the story we have been tracking all week. the confession of a father. >> he had been brought in for questioning, and after failing a
polygraph test -- >> are you lying about the last time you saw shannann? >> no. >> are you completely clear that you were not honest during the testing? i think you already know that. >> the interrogators pressed watts further >> you don't cry that your two little -- >> i'm hoping they're still around. >> watts then asked for his father, telling him that shanann broke down after he brought up a separation, claiming he killed his wife because she murdered their two young daughters. >> did she kill them? >> they were blue. >> both of them? she choked both of them to death. i freaked out, [ bleep ]. >> but investigators say watts was only telling half the story, that he killed his wife and their two chilensday night, wat arrested, and by thursday, police were at the oil field where watts used to work and
there, they found three bodies, filed formal charges against christopher lee watts. >> nine charges against watts were filed, including five counts of first-degree murder and one for unlawful termination of a pregnancy. >> his motive was simple, your honor. he had a desire for a fresh start, to begin a relationship with a new love that overpowered all decency and feelings for his wife, his daughters, and unborn son. >> on november 6th, watts plead guilty in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table. a decision endorsed by shannan's family at last week's emotional sentencing hearing. >> i have no idea who gave you the right to take their lives. >> this is the heartless one, the evil monster, how dare you take the lives of my daughter, shannan, bella, celeste, and nico. i trusted you to take care of them, not kill them. >> prosecutors revealed heart-wrenching details about how watts killed his wife and daughters. >> your honor, understand very clearly.
bella fought back for her life. >> watts remained silent. >> would you like to make a statement? >> as the judge sentenced him to five consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole. >> this is perhaps the most inhumane and vicious crime that i have handled out of the thousands of cases that i have seen. >> shanann's family is now filing a civil suit as well, hoping to prevent watts from benefitting from this case in the future. >> it's very, very important to the rzucek family that chris watts never be able to receive a dime from any of these murders. nobody's going to be able to bring back shannan or bella or celeste, but chris watts will never see the outside of a jail cell for the rest of his life ever. next, here the washington redskins signing a player just days after his arrest for
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taken initiative in courting female fans with clothing lines, ad campaigns, and an annual women's summit. but the league's seeming tolerance for domestic abusers has critics wondering if it's all just for show. tonight, angry eyes are on washington's football team for repeating what some see as an ug. pteatrn here's my "nightline" co-anchor, byron pitts. >> they're tone deaf.
>> the issue of domestic violence is so serious. >> you could assault somebody and the nfl will let you in. >> a new national outcry ricochetting over the washington redskins' decision to sign linebacker reuben foster after was cut by the san francisco 49ers following his second domestic violence arrest. >> we decided to make the move, and we'll deal with the outcry. >> the washington franchise was the only nfl team interested in foster, and now their controversial move has the team's head coach, jay g n,de >> we want to let the process play out and see what happens and get to the bottom of it and, you know, there's no guarantee he's ever going to play here. >> basically what you're doing here, you're taking a high risk chance. >> washington super bowl winning former quarterback and now senior vice president doug williams saying in a radio interview today the redskins front office was united in their decision. >> the high risk was the beatdown, the beat-up we're going to take from a pr. we are hoping that things come
out and it wasn't the way that everything has been perceived. we don't know that. >> on tuesday, williams said in a statement the redskins fully understand the severity of the recent allegations made against reuben. if true, you can be sure these allegations are nothing our organization would ever condone. but washington's choice to even consider a player under such a cloud of suspicion is leading many to question whether this team and the nfl as a whole have learned their lesson when it comes to dealing with allegations of domestic violence. >> dallas cowboys star greg hardy. >> football star jameis winston. >> another crushing blow for the nfl. >> the latest allegations against this 24-year-old came last saturday night with a 911 call from a tampa hotel room. >> the ex-boyfriend is what? >> took my phone and broke it and slapped me in my face. oicef reuben foster's ex-girlfriend alissainess. >> charge of battery and domestic violence. >> foster, a first round draft pick and a star on the field was dropped by the 49ers the
following morning, only to be picked up by washington three days after his arrest. >> he's a guy who can definitely be a difference maker for a team. >> this was not foster's first run-in with the law. in april, he was charged with felonies for domestic violence, making criminal threats, and weapons possession after being accused of beating up ennis. she later recanted her accusations, claiming she made the story up as revenge for foster breaking up with her. this week, the nfl placed foster on the commissioner's exempt list, making him ineligible to practice or play until it's conclude its own investigation. >> the nfl actually did the right thing. i think makes washington's decision to bring him in look even more alarming. >> foster is the latest in a long line of nfl players accused of domestic violence, the most notorious, ray of the baltimore ravens. this 2014 video obtained by "tmz sports" showed rice dragging his then fiancee's limp body out of an elevator.
he was indicted on aggravated assault charges. the very next day, he and palmer married. >> i failed miserably, but i wouldn't call myself a failure. because i'm working my way back up. >> the nfl initially gave rice what many considered a slap on the wrist, a two-game suspension. then later, a second video emerged, also obtained by "tmz sports," showing rice punching palmer in the face in the elevator. the ravens terminated their contract and the nfl suspended him indefinitely. rice appealed and was reinstated, although he has yet to be signed by any nfl team. >> i got it wrong in the handling of the ray rice maty fh >> rice entered an intervention program for first-time offender, and his charges were dismissed at completion, but the case sparked a national outcry and ushered in sweeping changes to the nfl's policy, including independent investigative powers and a minimum six-game
suspension for first-time domestic violence offenders. >> the charge of battery and domestic violence. >> as for reuben foster, his signing is the latest in a string of controversial personnel decisions by washington. in 2015, the club signed defensive player junior galette after he was released by the new orleans saints for a domestic violence arrest. though the charges were later dropped, he served a two-game suspension. the team's current starting running back, adrian peterson, served a six-month suspension in 2014 for child abuse while playing for the minnesota vikings, just last week revealing in an interview with bleacher report that he still physically disciplines his children and that he didn't let the suspension change his ways. >> you've got junior galette, you've got adrian peterson and now you've got reuben foster. and this is not a coincidence. this is something that this team obviously is encouraging. it is fostering and it wants to be a participant in signing people of questionable character.
>> all this as the team's front office made another decision many found curious. more than a week ago, the redskins starting quarterback went down for the season, forcing the team, hungry for a playoff berth, to sign a back-up. >> washington's quarterback, alex smith, broke his leg and washington needed a replacement. so they have colt mccoy, and then they brought in the former jets quarterback, mark sanchez. >> sanchez, who hadn't played in two years, was signed over free agent quarterback colin kaepernick, who made national headlines for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. >> to take a knee during the national anthem and you can't find a job. colin kaepernick looks better and better every single day. >> since colin kaepernick last took a snap in an nfl game at the end of the 2016 season, teams have signed players who can barely walk and chew gum, who can't throw the ball from point a to point b accurately, and they signed them and they've passed on kaepernick, who no matter what you think of him, has shown that he can do things
on a football field. >> we don't have to extrapolate here very much to say that washington has decided it is better to allegedly hit a woman than it is to kneel in protest about social injustice during the national anthem. >> owner dan snyder are no strangers to controversies. for decades, there's been public outcry to change the team's name, which critics say is a racial slur against native americans. snyder has said he is never changing the name. >> he's been painted as a villain in many situations over the years here in d.c. and the country, and it doesn't seem to bother him at all. >> this situation that we're dealing with now with reuben foster would not have occurred if dan snyder had not checked off on it. nothing happens in an organization without dan snyder giving it the thumbs-up. >> the arraignment for foster's charges is scheduled for january 3rd, and for now foster's fate remains uncertain as well as the stature of this once revered nfl franchise. >> i covered it in the '80s when they won super bowls.
jack kent cooke, bobby beathard, joe gibbs, it seems just to be a distant memory to this organization now that would be willing to roll the dice on a man who has been accused now twice of domestic violence as recently as 72 hours before they signed him. >> our thanks to byron. next here, we switch gears entirely. it's been 63 long dog months. watch what happens when this soldier returns home to her beloved border collie. e. >> announcer: abc news "nightline" sponsored by red lobster. ready to get your feast on? you better be 'cause it's red lobster's new create your own ultimate feast event! pick 4 of 10 favorites to create the ultimate feast you've been dreaming of. will you choose creamy lobster mac & cheese, tender, wild-caught snow crab... crispy jumbo coconut shrimp, hey, we never said choosing was easy... just delicious.
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finally tonight, the heartwarming, high drool reunion. there's army specialist cassandra cabrera returning from africa after nearly a year away, met at the airport by her border collie, miss may. so did miss may miss ms. cabrera? the perky pup greeting her with loving legs and jumps for joy. our thanks to specialist cabrera
for her service and miss may for her patience. that's our show tonight. remember, if you can't stay up with us, you can always find full episodes of "nightline" on hulu. thank you for watching, and good night. or 3utes of baby videos. a 'g of d a gig goes a long way. that's why xfinity mobile lets you pay for data one gig at a time.